Posted by: watchman | March 24, 2011

Honesty = Naivety: The Unfortunate Fact for Pastors

My friend Chad recently had a few thoughts published on Rachel Held Evans’ blog about being recently forced out of the pulpit of his church. Check it out here.

What do you think? Should pastors be honest, even if it may cost their jobs? Do you think that the church has more to fear from honesty or from a lack of honesty?

EDIT UPDATE: MSNBC covers the story here



  1. Hi Watchman:

    Of course pastors should be honest. But if their teaching contradicts the stated position of the church they pastor, what should happen? Couldn’t a pastor just present what the Bible says about a subject, offer several possible interpretations, and ask people to draw their own conclusions? If the Bible is ambiguous on a subject, isn’t it OK for church leaders to be ambiguous too?

  2. Mark, sometimes ‘ambiguity’ is a code word for avoiding challenging conversations. You’re correct, though. It is probably easier for churches to avoid difficult subjects all together.

  3. Are we speaking of the ambiguity that serves to protect a hierarchy? Are we speaking of the ambiguity that serves to protect a pastor’s job when they’ve overstepped their boundaries? All too often I witnessed the ambiguity mode when it served undeserving causes. Yes, in my opinion, honesty is the best policy…on our situation, we were lead by a pastor who was so burdened by his untruths, he spent more of his time devoted to managing these than helping his church community. If we have the faith we are asked to hold, the truth will inevitably have benefit.

  4. EC,

    Important points to consider. It seems to me that your last sentence in your comment is key. Honesty always exposes reality for more of what it really is; even if it muddles it, or people reject that new reality as quickly as it is exposed. I believe honesty is vital to have a healthy relationship/community. I think a time when honesty can become a problem is when it is used to control or abuse repentant people. An abusive husband, wife, parent, pastor, etc., who uses what they know of someone’s faults to make them feel or look bad in order to create a dependence, subservience or to abdicate their own responsibility. That’s when I think honesty on the victim’s part is even more important, and even more risky.

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